The Fourth Reich (Dutch title: Het Vierde Rijk) is the third and final part of the Skorzeny Trilogy. In this alternate history story, the author covers the widespread rumor that Hitler escaped in the final days of the Third Reich. Suppose Hitler escaped from the Führerbunker; what would his flight have been like and where was he going? With this book Janzen intends to reach the internet generation.
The Fourth Reich
Research shows that young people are reading less. The study 'The reading culture of young people' by Qrius (2021) indicates what stimulates young people to read. Exciting books (46%) and 'true stories' (36%) appeal to teens the most. If there is still action and they also learn something from it, then this is a good incentive to read a certain book. Janzen's books, including his latest book The Fourth Reich, are of the so-called alternate history category. It is history with a what if-scenario which makes for an exciting story. Furthermore, Janzen's writing style is smooth and lively.
The pace of The Fourth Reich fits well with the internet generation. Series on Netflix, among others, determine the standard how stories should be told. The book consists of short chapters that are told from different perspectives. The reader walks, as it were, through the various war sets. For example, he experiences the seclusion of the Führerbunker and the madness of the battle in the destroyed city. Well-known figures are brought to life, both on the German side, on the Russian and British side. Action, fiction and fact alternate. For example, the fact that both James Bond and Adolf Hitler used the same gun: the Walther PPK. For Hitler, the first time he used it was also the last time. Furthermore, Janzen understands the art of not taking a position, he leaves it to the reader to judge.
Janzen makes it clear that his book has a fictitious starting point. Yet he comes close to reality. Contrary to many other theories, Janzen does not allow his main characters to escape to South America, but to the United States. The image he conjures up comes anxiously close to the political landscape as it has been seen in recent years.
Dr. Peter Schrijvers, author of 'Bastogne: The Greatest Battle of the Bulge', about Janzen's previous book: The Hunt for the Führer:
“Like no other, Michiel Janzen immerses you completely in the vortex of the Second World War. With its own style of flashy facts and sparkling fiction. Who dares to say that history is boring?”
About the author
Michiel Janzen made his debut with the management book Think like a General (2012) at publishing house Haystack, in which he draws practical lessons from military-strategic operations. He shows how Hannibal thought out-of-the-box, Michiel de Ruyter cultivated team spirit and Napoleon made good use of the fog of war at Austerlitz. The general's strategies and tactics, an example of decisiveness and clear communication, provide insight into, among other things, how to take risks, how to make decisions and how to effortlessly convince friends and colleagues. Since then, he has been writing alternate history thrillers that rub shoulders with reality. He previously published The Eisenhower Plot (2019) and The Hunt for the Führer (2020) at Lannoo publishing house.
Photographer: Frank Jans